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Despite Its High P/E Ratio, Is Caesarstone Ltd. (NASDAQ:CSTE) Still Undervalued?

Simply Wall St

This article is for investors who would like to improve their understanding of price to earnings ratios (P/E ratios). We'll look at Caesarstone Ltd.'s (NASDAQ:CSTE) P/E ratio and reflect on what it tells us about the company's share price. Caesarstone has a price to earnings ratio of 21.17, based on the last twelve months. That means that at current prices, buyers pay $21.17 for every $1 in trailing yearly profits.

Check out our latest analysis for Caesarstone

How Do You Calculate A P/E Ratio?

The formula for P/E is:

Price to Earnings Ratio = Price per Share ÷ Earnings per Share (EPS)

Or for Caesarstone:

P/E of 21.17 = $13.93 ÷ $0.66 (Based on the trailing twelve months to March 2019.)

Is A High Price-to-Earnings Ratio Good?

The higher the P/E ratio, the higher the price tag of a business, relative to its trailing earnings. All else being equal, it's better to pay a low price -- but as Warren Buffett said, 'It's far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.'

How Does Caesarstone's P/E Ratio Compare To Its Peers?

The P/E ratio indicates whether the market has higher or lower expectations of a company. As you can see below, Caesarstone has a higher P/E than the average company (18.5) in the building industry.

NasdaqGS:CSTE Price Estimation Relative to Market, August 2nd 2019

That means that the market expects Caesarstone will outperform other companies in its industry. Clearly the market expects growth, but it isn't guaranteed. So investors should delve deeper. I like to check if company insiders have been buying or selling.

How Growth Rates Impact P/E Ratios

When earnings fall, the 'E' decreases, over time. Therefore, even if you pay a low multiple of earnings now, that multiple will become higher in the future. So while a stock may look cheap based on past earnings, it could be expensive based on future earnings.

Notably, Caesarstone grew EPS by a whopping 42% in the last year. Unfortunately, earnings per share are down 19% a year, over 5 years.

Remember: P/E Ratios Don't Consider The Balance Sheet

Don't forget that the P/E ratio considers market capitalization. In other words, it does not consider any debt or cash that the company may have on the balance sheet. In theory, a company can lower its future P/E ratio by using cash or debt to invest in growth.

Spending on growth might be good or bad a few years later, but the point is that the P/E ratio does not account for the option (or lack thereof).

Caesarstone's Balance Sheet

Caesarstone has net cash of US$77m. This is fairly high at 16% of its market capitalization. That might mean balance sheet strength is important to the business, but should also help push the P/E a bit higher than it would otherwise be.

The Bottom Line On Caesarstone's P/E Ratio

Caesarstone's P/E is 21.2 which is above average (17.7) in its market. Its net cash position is the cherry on top of its superb EPS growth. So based on this analysis we'd expect Caesarstone to have a high P/E ratio.

When the market is wrong about a stock, it gives savvy investors an opportunity. As value investor Benjamin Graham famously said, 'In the short run, the market is a voting machine but in the long run, it is a weighing machine.' So this free report on the analyst consensus forecasts could help you make a master move on this stock.

But note: Caesarstone may not be the best stock to buy. So take a peek at this free list of interesting companies with strong recent earnings growth (and a P/E ratio below 20).

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.